Flags from Fryslân

Friesland Flag
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Flags from Fryslân

The Frisian flag is flown all over the province, its design is everywhere, on long streamers hanging from flagpoles, it is seen on T-shirts and even on cartons of milk and tubs of yoghurt with the brand name "Friesche Vlag" (Frisian Flag). The flag has a long history, believing it dates back to the 9th century, when Friesland had its own King.

Fryslân - Friesland
Frisian Coat of Arms
Leeuwarden - Ljouwert
Franekeradeel - Frjentsjeradiel
Franeker - Frjentsjer
Harlingen - Harns
Vlieland - Flylân
Terschelling - Skylge
Ameland - It Amelân
Schiermonnikoog - Skiermûntseach
The Ommelanden

The three white stripes of the Frisian flag probably stand for the rural quarters Oostergo, Westergo and Zevenwouden and the blue stripes for the Frisian rivers. The seven "pompeblêdden" (lily leaves) represent the seven old Frisian lands from around the 8th till the 14th century, from the north of Holland to the north west of Germany. The flag was officially adopted on 9 July 1957 although it has been in use much longer. The Coat of Arms of Friesland, a blue shield with two gold lions and 7 billets (rectangles), is also of ancient origin, said to be derived from the arms of Frisian King Radboud (c. 800 CE).

As elsewhere in the Netherlands, about every city, town and municipality has its own flag, although these may not always be prominently displayed. In the case of the old University city of Franeker, its early 18th century flag had four alternating yellow and blue stripes. This was almost the same as the flag of Leeuwarden (its rival in the days when the Frisian capital was still undecided), with the sequence of colours reversed. Franeker's flag was simplified to just two stripes, yellow over blue but since in 1984 Franeker merged with the municipality of Franekeradeel (Frjentsjerteradiel) the municipal flag seems to be the only one used. In contrast, Harlingen's flag is very prominent and can be seen all over the city.

The Four Frisian Waddeneilanden, the islands offshore in the Waddenzee, separating Friesland from the North Sea, also have their own flags; all have horizontal stripes with Schiermonnikoog (Skiermûntseach) no less than 7 stripes; however, in the 18th century the islands of Vlieland and Terschelling apparently had the same flag of no less than 15 stripes (red, white, blue, green, red, yellow, green, yellow, red, blue, yellow, green, red, white and blue!); nowadays Vlieland has only two stripes and Terschelling five.